Ice Dogs hockey is officially back in Dryden!

The long-awaited home opener is officially here as the Dryden GM Ice Dogs open up their 2021-2022 season tonight against the Fort Frances Lakers.

Tonight’s home opener will also be a Vaccinators Night to honour all of the hard-working front-line healthcare workers.

“The point is it’s not lost on anybody that this arena was used as a vaccine clinic all summer, all spring. Watching as a patient or as an observer the depth of the volunteer effort was remarkable. We just wanted to use the platform that we have. We want to make a point to these people of recognizing them,” said Ice Dogs President Mike Sveinson

Dr.Kit Young Hoon Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit along with the staff of the health unit will be the guests of honour. Young Hoon will drop the puck at the ceremonial faceoff tonight.

This will be the first large gathering at an Ice Dogs game in over a year and a half. Sveinson added that the players are buzzing to play in front of a hopeful sold-out crowd.

“The intensity in the locker room and the anticipation of the game you can’t believe it. All of the players haven’t played a meaningful game as long as it's been since we’ve seen one. This is an incredibly important game for all of them. Those guys will blow the roof off on Friday night and we hope the community will be there to watch it,” added Sveinson

The Ice Dogs have been hard at work preparing for this game since their team was selected almost two weeks ago. Ice Dogs Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager Ben Borton sat down with DrydenNow on how the team is looking going into game one.

“I think so far we look pretty good for the time of year that is. We’re big, we’re fast, we’re looking to get off to a hot start here early on in the season,” says Borton.

Borton noted that the players are very excited going into the home opener tonight.

“As anybody knows any first game of the season everybody’s super excited. We just can’t wait to get started,” added Borton

The Ice Dogs had a great off-season and training camp and we’re able to bring back half of the returning players from last year.

One of the players returning from last year is forward Cameron Ware, who will be a force up front this season.

“It’s an extreme excitement we haven’t been able to play anything significant in almost two years. The guys are really pumped to get back out there and have a full season, and this is just the first step of a long season, and we’re confident that we’re going to win but we have to take every game as one and make sure we win this one,” said Ware

It’s been an exciting week for Ware besides the home opener as he was named the Ice Dogs captain earlier in the week.

“This is the first team I’ve ever been a captain for but I’m obviously very honoured and very excited to be the captain of the team. At the same time, I’m still going to be myself. I’m just one of the guys at the end of the day we’re all putting on the same jersey, the same skates, and the same helmet. For how much I want to have a good year, I want the team to have a good year as well. I’m just looking forward to getting out there,” added Ware

Due to provincial mandates, the attendance for tonight’s game will be a max of 500 people. Every ticket can be purchased at the Dryden Memorial Arena.

Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. CDT at the Dog Pound. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. CDT